The objective of periodontal scaling and root planing is to remove agents which cause inflammation, infection and bone loss-dental plaque, and its hardened derivative, calculus (tartar), helping to establish a maintainable periodontal environment that is free of disease.

Periodontal scaling procedures include the removal of plaque, calculus and stain from the crown and root surfaces of teeth, while root planing is a specific treatment that removes the roughened cementum and surface dentin that is impregnated with calculus, microorganisms and their toxins.

Scaling and root planning are often referred to as deep cleaning, and may be performed using a
combination of ultrasonic instruments and hand instruments, frequently with local anesthetic for comfort.

Removal of plaque and calculus is also performed on people without periodontal disease.  This treatment would then be referred to as a maintenance cleaning or prophylaxis.

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